Agencies are ‘out of touch’ says survey

Agencies are out of touch with the needs of marketing directors, according to research carried out by Brainjuicer on behalf of The Haystack Group.

The aim of the survey, which was carried out among 416 senior advertisers and agency chiefs, was to find out whether both client and agencies were working towards common goals.

Both advertisers and agencies feel that creativity represented the greatest strength that agencies brought to advertisers, but both agreed that agencies also fell down in their understanding of commercial realities.

Commenting on the findings of the research, O2’s marketing director Will Harris says: “There is an innate arrogance about agency land and a gap in how well agencies know our business.”

Differences were also shown in the perception of tenure held by agencies. Marketing directors believe that the average tenure held by advertising agencies was five years. Most agency heads thought their tenure had dropped to three years. By contrast, marketing directors perceive direct marketing (DM) agencies to be the biggest losers, and believe their status has been reduced from three-year tenures to ad hoc projects.

Marketing directors see DM agencies as less important than advertising, branding and PR agencies, whereas agency bosses believed DM was second place behind advertising agencies.

Marketing directors see their own main function as building brand and hitting sales targets, whereas agencies believe that marketing directors’ main function is to increase sales.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here